A new study published in the medical journal, Clinical Cancer Research, has shown that broccoli prevents and treats breast cancer.
Sulforaphane, a natural compound found in broccoli, was studied to determine how effective it was at inhibiting cancer stem cells (CSC’s) in breast cancer. Researchers believe that the key to stopping cancer is actually to stop cancer stem cells from growing, rather than stopping the actual tumor once it has already grown.
They injected mice with breast cancer with sulforaphane – the extract of broccoli – and found that it slowed the growth of cancer stem cells and stopped them from being able to form new tumors.
They then tried to re-create a similar scenario in humans by studying human breast cancer cells in a petri dish and they found that the extract deceased the numbers of cancer stem cells by 65-80% and reduced the size of tumors.
‘Sulforaphane inhibits breast CSCs and down regulates the Wnt/β-catenin self-renewal pathway. These findings support the use of sulforaphane for the chemoprevention of breast cancer stem cells and warrant further clinical evaluation.’
This anti-cancer extract can be obtained by eating regular portions of broccoli, but researchers don’t yet know what amount would be required to prevent or treat cancer and the amounts used in their study were higher than what could be got from the diet. They are working on developing a supplement made from the broccoli extract to potentially treat cancer and further human trials will be done when the supplement has been formulated.
In the mean time, eat broccoli with your main meals to try and reduce your risk.
Other ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer include:
• Having children. Women who have given birth have less chance of getting breast cancer than those who are childless.
• Breast feeding your babies. Women, who breast feed, particularly for two years or more, halve their risk of breast cancer.
• There is some evidence to suggest that tight fitting bras may contribute to the development of breast cancer, so buy ones that don’t have under wiring and if possible, have some bra free days.